Starting tomorrow, the National Booking Service will open for 40 to 49 year olds for their booster jab and for young people aged 16 to 17 for their second jab.
Booster vaccinations and second doses will protect the advances we’ve made through our phenomenal vaccination program and ensure that we can safely enjoy Christmas. People are encouraged to sign up for their vaccinations as soon as they are eligible for the best possible winter protection.
New data this week further underscored the importance of the booster jab. The UK’s first real-world study on the effectiveness of booster vaccines by the UK Health Authority shows that booster vaccinations increase protection against symptomatic COVID-19 in adults over 50 by up to 90%.
Results show that protection from symptomatic infection in adults 50 years of age and older two weeks after receiving a booster dose was 93.1% in patients with Oxford / AstraZeneca as the main treatment and 94.0% in Pfizer-BioNTech.
This means that people who received their booster vaccinations by December 11th will have a very high level of protection against COVID-19 until Christmas Day. Following a surge in cases and a return of lockdown restrictions in Europe, those eligible for a refresher have been urged to take the offer as soon as possible in order to protect themselves and their families and to ease pressure on the NHS.
Following new advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) this week, the vaccination program has expanded. Those over 40 years of age are entitled to a booster vaccination, and those between the ages of 16 and 17 can book a second vaccination.
Those entitled to a booster dose can schedule an appointment in advance – five months after their second dose – to get the vaccine once they hit the six-month mark.
Almost 6 in 10 young people aged 16-17 in England have already received a first dose that will protect them from COVID-19, reduce transmission and help reduce the amount of missed education. Second doses increase this protection even further in the winter months.
People can book on 119 or get vaccinated at hundreds of walkable locations across the country six months after their second dose without an appointment. Those eligible can use the NHS ‘online walk-in finder to find the most appropriate website.
Health and Welfare Minister Sajid Javid said:
Getting your vaccination against COVID-19 is the best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and reduce pressure on the NHS this winter.
Unfortunately, while the government continues to monitor a huge amount of data to make sure the country remains protected, we have seen an increase in cases in parts of Europe.
The most important thing we can do to stop a similar surge in this country is vaccination – so please get your vaccines as soon as possible so we can keep the virus at bay. “
A total of 14 million people in the UK have already received their booster vaccines, which are essential protection against winter.
In the UK, more than 50 million first doses (88.2%) and 46 million second doses (80.2%) were given.
Vaccination Minister Maggie Throup said:
We need to protect the successes we have achieved through our vaccination program this winter and I urge everyone to help make that happen
Please get your boosters when you are eligible and get your first and second doses if you haven’t already to provide vital winter protection and to protect you and your loved ones. “
Vaccines offer high levels of protection, but immunity decreases over time, especially in older adults and at risk groups.
The latest findings from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) show that symptomatic disease protection for the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine drops from 65% up to three months after the second dose to 45% six months after the second dose, and from 90% to 65% for the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. Hospitalization protection drops from 95% to 75% for Oxford / AstraZeneca and 99% to 90% for Pfizer / BioNTech.
Although the vaccine’s effectiveness against serious illness is still high, a small change can cause a large postponement of hospital admissions. For example, a change from 95% to 90% protection against hospital admissions would double admissions for vaccinated persons.
The booster program is designed to increase this diminishing immunity.
It’s also never too late if you haven’t received a first or second dose – your COVID-19 vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones this winter.
COVID-19 booster vaccines have been delivered or booked in every senior citizen care home in England where it is safe to do so, with almost 9 out of 10 care homes already visited.
Last month the clinical guidelines were updated to allow those at highest risk to give boosters a little earlier where surgically feasible. This includes nursing home residents who may have had their second vaccination at different times to be vaccinated in the same session as long as 5 months have passed since their second vaccination. It can also help with other vulnerable groups, such as: For example, with home-bound patients so they can get their flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time.
Dr. Emily Lawson, director of the NHS COVID-19 vaccination program, said:
The NHS vaccination program continues on a large scale, with more than 12 million booster vaccinations in England – including about seven in 10 eligible people aged 50 and over – and 14 million in the UK in nine weeks.
In the run-up to the festive season and what we know to be a challenging winter, I would like to encourage all who are entitled and invited to take advantage of the offer of a life-saving refresher as soon as possible in order to protect themselves and those around you. “
Confidence in the vaccine is high. Data from the Office of National Statistics shows that almost all (94%) of 50 to 69 year olds say they would likely get their COVID-19 booster if offered, with the number rising to 98% over 70.
Flu is another winter virus that can be serious. In order to give people the best protection over the winter, those eligible for a free flu shot should get in touch and book an appointment either with their family doctor or their local pharmacy, or as suggested by their employer or other health care provider .
The government has launched a nationwide publicity campaign encouraging people to get their booster and flu vaccinations to protect themselves and their loved ones and to ease pressure on the NHS. This includes outdoor billboards, broadcasting, and community radio and TV.
The offer of a first and second COVID-19 vaccine is open to anyone who is eligible. Vaccines are free and are available at thousands of vaccination centers, general practitioners’ offices, and pharmacies. About 98% of people live within 10 miles of a vaccination center in England, and vaccination takes place in places such as mosques, community centers and football stadiums.
Compared to April of this year, there are now more than 500 additional vaccination centers, with 1,697 vaccination centers operating in April 2021 and over 2,200 vaccination centers now operating.
There are also vaccines for 12 to 15 year olds to offer the best possible protection in schools and in more than 200 vaccination centers this winter.